Top five movie trends and surprises of 2010

True stories hit it big at the box office in 2010, while big sequels and 3D features largely fizzled.

2. Summer storm of feature documentaries

  • close
    Joan Rivers is shown in a scene from the film, 'Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work.'
    Seth Keal/IFC Films/AP
    View Caption
  • About video ads
    View Caption

Feature documentaries proved that real-life doesn’t even need a fictional gloss to succeed. This summer’s crop of feature documentaries hit an all time high of nearly 20 – even during the summer months, a traditional window for box-office candy and popcorn flicks. From the profile of comedian in “Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work” to “Countdown to Zero” and “Inside Job,” the little films came out of the back row this year.

“It has been a better-than-average year for documentary features,” says Mary Dalton, co-director of the Documentary film Program at Wake Forest University. "This is part of a longer trend that started to build after the commercial success of 'Bowling for Columbine' in theatrical release and the blockbuster status of 'Fahrenheit 9/11.' Docs are usually independently produced and have a lower budget than narrative features,” she adds, noting that they are often seen as a cheap way to fill out programming schedules.

2 of 5

Read Comments

View reader comments | Comment on this story